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New words. Before reading try to give, if possible, the synonyms or close meanings of the following words and word combinations and try to pronounce them correctly:

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Before reading try to give, if possible, the synonyms or close meanings of the following words and word combinations and try to pronounce them correctly:

State, elementary school, high school, public schools, junior high school, senior high school, grade, kindergarten, to comprise, taxes, funding, assignment, mandatory, college, private school, university.

Education in the United States comprises three levels: elementary, secondary and higher education. There are two types of educational institutions – private and state. State institutions are called public schools, they are open to all classes and financed by taxes collected from all citizens. Kids start school by going to kindergartens at the age of 6, which is often a part of grade schools (each year of study is called a grade). The first six years are elementary school, then come junior (grades 7-8) and high school (grades 9-12).

Most pupils follow a course that includes basic subjects – English, science and mathematics, social sciences and physical education – as well as elective subjects for high school students who plan their careers and select subjects that will be useful in their chosen work – foreign languages, fine arts, advanced mathematics and science, and vocational training.

Students usually receive grades from A(excellent) to F(failing) in each course they take on the basis of the performance in tests given throughout the year, participation in class discussions and completion of written and oral assignments.

Sometimes during grade school students are given an IQ test (an Intelligence Quotient test). It is not a test of their knowledge, but their ability to think. The results (scores) from these tests are known only by teachers, and not by the students or their parents.

Private schools are not supported by public funds and charge fees. Their organisation and curriculum are similar to those of public schools, but the tuition costs are so high that only the wealthiest families can afford them. Many private schools are boarding schools.

Most young Americans graduate from school with a high school diploma upon satisfactory completion of a specified number of courses. Each student is given a high school transcript with grades obtained. That is the end of mandatory free public education, however, some students drop out of schools and never graduate.

One half of the students enter institutions of higher education, others may get further education at special colleges.

G. Nevzorova, T. Nikitushkina, St.-Petersburg, 2001.

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